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November 17, 2019

Politics

Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Ned Lamont of Connecticut met again on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday, Sept. 25 in Hartford, CT.

Lamont Announces Multi-State Effort To Curb Vaping, Cannabis, Smoking Hazards

After a meeting with the governor of New York on Wednesday, Sept. 25, Gov. Ned Lamont said states are working together to regulate recreational marijuana and vaping products.

After meeting privately at Lamont’s official residence, he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced there will be a meeting of regional partners on Oct. 17 to discuss ways states can come up with some common details for a possible legalized recreational marijuana program, such as taxation rates and what forms of marijuana should be sold.

Cuomo said states are getting a lot of confusion and a lot of debate -- but no leadership -- from Washington on those and other issues.

Lamont already has been working with the governors of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Also Wednesday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order banning the sale of flavored vaping products statewide, expressing concern the products are being marketed to children.

Lamont may offer a bill when Connecticut’s General Assembly returns in February.  Lamont said the summit would also address guidelines for vaping oversight.

Attempts to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana have stumbled in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.

Lamont said he hopes the governors can also work with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, whose state has already legalized recreational marijuana. On Tuesday, Baker ordered a four-month halt to sales of all vaping products and devices.

Lamont said it’s important all the states in the region don’t surrender to the black market and have systems that are carefully regulated and safe.

“I think we want to do it in a very thoughtful basis,” said Lamont, who has made a point of meeting with other governors in the region since taking office in January.

Both Lamont and Cuomo expressed concern Wednesday with the safety of vaping. Health officials nationwide are investigating hundreds of cases of serious breathing illnesses in people who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.

Earlier this month, state health officials in New York approved temporary, 90-day emergency regulations, which can be extended, to ban the sale of most flavored electronic cigarettes, with the exception of tobacco and menthol favors.

While a proposal to ban certain vaping flavors in Connecticut failed this year, the state passed legislation prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products to anyone under 21. The new law takes effect on Oct. 1. It also raises the age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products to 21.

Lamont said, "Every day thousands of New Yorkers travel over the border to work in Connecticut, and thousands of Connecticut commuters rely on New York for their livelihood. To that end, it's common sense for our states to be aligned in numerous policy areas. Governor Cuomo and I have the chance to be leaders together on these issues of public importance, and that's exactly what we're going to do."

In July, Cuomo signed legislation decriminalizing marijuana use in New York state. Cuomo plans to have new recreational marijuana legislation ready by January

Earlier this month, Cuomo announced that New York is the first state in the nation to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine e-liquids.